Diabetes and Health Issues
Introduction to Diabetes
Diabetes is a clinical syndrome which is characterized by hyperglycemia and is caused by a deficiency of insulin. Insulin helps our body cells to absorb glucose from the blood and store it for energy. But in diabetes, the body stops making adequate insulin or cannot use its own insulin. Due to this factor, sugar level increases in blood. It has many causes but mainly due to type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Long term metabolic derangements are associated with functional and structural changes particularly with a vascular system which can lead to clinical complications. Such characteristics can affect the eye, kidney, and the nervous system.
The incidence of both type 1 and type 2 diabetes are increasing day by day. According to research, in the year 2000, around 171 million people had diabetes and has been expected to double by 2030. Type 2 is most common and 90% of adults are involved. It is associated with greater longevity, obesity, poor diet, sedentary routine and increasing urbanization. Its prevalence rate is 4% in the UK while it’s higher in the Middle East (>12%). Nowadays, type 2 diabetes is also commonly observed in children and youngsters. On the other hand, type 1 diabetes usually begins at an early age but can also develop in adults. It is commonly found in the Caucasian population and in European countries and its prevalence rate in youngers has doubled in the last 20 years. People with type 1 must take insulin each day to manage their glucose level as the body fails to produce its own insulin.
Type 1 diabetes was known as ‘insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus’ (IDDM). It was associated with insulin deficiency requiring replacement therapy. While type 2 diabetes previously termed as ‘non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus’ (NIDDM) in which patient preserve the capacity to secrete insulin but impairments of the sensations to insulin. Initially, it can be treated without replacement therapy of insulin.
The diabetic patients are increasing day by day because of obesity, inadequate physical activity, smoking, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and unsatisfactory diet. These factors can increase the chances of type 2 diabetes and it has been more common in adults and adolescents. Diabetes can lead to stroke and other cardiac diseases. Study shows that overeating is associated with type 2 diabetes particularly when combined with inactivity and overweight. People with diabetes eat significantly more and become more obese and less active than normal or non-diabetic individuals. The risk increases tenfold in people with a body mass index (BMI) more than 30kg/m2.
In addition to the effect of calorie content on obesity, the constituents of the diet and eating habits are important. Sweet food increases the demand for insulin secretion as it is rich in carbohydrates. Age is another major factor of disease. Type 2 diabetes is more common in middle-aged people. 70% of all cases of diabetes occur after the age of 50 years. Insulin sensitivities reduce in pregnant women through the action of placental hormones and affect the tolerance level of glucose. Insulin secreting cells may increase the demand which could be unable to meet and predisposed to develop diabetes. Diabetes occurring for the first time during pregnancy is termed as ‘gestational diabetes’. Repeated pregnancy may increase the chance of its irreversibility especially in obese women and may develop diabetes permanently.
Signs and Symptoms
Sign and symptoms are so mild that is difficult to notice especially in type 2 diabetes. Whereas in type 1, symptoms occur so fast, usually within days or multiple weeks. Besides, its severity is greater than type 2. Common symptoms include increased hunger, thirst, tiredness, fatigue, nocturia, blur vision, pain in legs and increase urine. Normally, food is converted into glucose, which is used for energy by your body cells, but they need insulin to take in glucose.
As a body is unable to make enough insulin in diabetes, and cells are incapable to get into them therefore no energy is stored. This can make hungrier and the body become more tired than usual. Due to increase blood sugar in diabetes, kidneys are unable to bring it all back in which causes the body to produce more urine. Due to this, peeing become more often than usual and due to an increase in urine, a person may get thirstier and become more dehydrated. The mouth can also feel dry which can make your skin itchy. Changes in the level of body fluid can cause swelling of eye lenses and results in blurry vision.
In type 2 diabetes, blood flow is affected if the blood sugar level is high and it can cause nerve damage which makes your body to heal a wound. It may also result in pain and numbness of legs. In type 1 diabetes, the body may not get enough energy from your food, and complete its requirement by burning muscle and fat. It may result in unplanned weight loss.
Diabetes is diagnosed through several tests. Three of them are important and usually done to confirm the disease.
Fasting glucose test determines the sugar level of blood and is done in the morning before eating anything.
- A level higher than 126 mg/dL confirms diabetes.
- Oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT), which involves the drinking of glucose-containing beverage and the blood glucose level would be checked in every half an hour for up to 3 hours. It shows the presence of diabetes if glucose level is more than 200mg/dL within two hours
- The A1c test is a simple blood test which shows sugar level in your body for the previous 3 months. A1c level of 6.5% confirms the diagnosis.
Care and Prevention
Reduce weight if you are obese, maintaining blood pressure and cholesterol level is also essential. Maintenance of diet plays an important role in preventing the disease. It should include eating plan that contains low saturated fats, less salt and sugar. Try to become active and increase your physical work by making goals to walk for at least 20 minutes daily. Do aerobic activities. Avoid alcohol and smoking. Follow your medications as prescribed.